Hyland strove for a better athletic environment at LU

Michael Sprague The Legacy contributor

Featured photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives. Hyland Arena.

This story is part of the “Names that built LU” weekly series issued by The Legacy that has been profiling 28 campus buildings named after Lindenwood personnel.

He was the 1988 St. Louis Man of the Year. He belonged to 13 professional organizations, 52 civic groups, two academic societies and eight social clubs according to a 1992 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Robert F. Hyland made his name in the St. Louis area as the regional vice president and general manager of the CBS affiliate in St. Louis, KMOX radio, for 41 years.

Robert F. Hyland. Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives.
Robert F. Hyland. Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives.

Keeping up with the motto, “The Voice of St. Louis,” Hyland established practices at KMOX that set the standard of how talk radio operates nationally today.

He was chairman of the board at Lindenwood from the mid 1970’s until the year before his death. Hyland was also on the board of St. Anthony’s Medical Center.

Completed in late 1996, Hyland was not around to see the moment the stadium was unveiled. He didn’t see the breaking of ground for the arena, either. In fact, the stadium was not even approved for construction until months after his death in March of 1992.

Still, Hyland’s drive to have a multi-purpose gymnasium built on the LU campus was overwhelming.

According to the dedication announcement for the arena handed out by the university, “one of Robert F. Hyland’s final acts as chairman of the board at Lindenwood was insisting his board vote on and move forward swiftly with construction of a new gymnasium on campus.”

Inside the Hyland Arena basketball court. Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives.
Inside the Hyland Arena basketball court. Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives.

As a prominent figure during “the Spellmann era,” Hyland envisioned the same goals for Lindenwood, to make it better.

This mindset is what set Hyland apart from his peers. A former employee at KMOX, Alice English, outlined his character as it applied to the John F. Kennedy assassination.

English told the St. Louis Post Dispatch, “When Kennedy was assassinated, there were those at the station who just wanted to punch in the network and get everything out of New York.”

The easy way of doing things didn’t fly with Hyland. “He got people on the phone calling around and interviewing, getting new angles,” English continued. “Later that day, it often went the other way, with the network picking up stuff originated by KMOX.”

The determination to strive for the better is the legacy that Hyland left behind.

As the St. Charles Post said when the arena neared completion, “Lindenwood Arena Crowns Program.”

 

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